Good Morning Friends! This is the new music Friday I’ve been waiting for all year. My favorite worship group has released a new album today! While Elevation Worship has already released half of the singles off the Graves into Gardens album, I can not wait to hear what new sounds this amazing team has created. Along with EW’s new album there is a slew of new singles out, which I’ll be sharing this week, but if you can not wait, check out Jordan Feliz, for King & Country, Ryan Stevenson, TobyMac, and NEEDTOBREATHE‘s new music. Today I am sharing one of Christian Music’s greatest, who also released a new song inspired by current events. Enjoy this from Mr. Steven Curtis Chapman:
The Book of Acts. This is the action book of the New Testament. There’s a lot to teach y’all and we will have a glorious month looking at the events that led to the birth of the Christian faith. Luke writes this book to Theophilus, picking up right where the Gospel of Luke ends. Our NT reading plan is going to begin to relax so you’ll have more time to spend in prayer and meditation.
Deeper Reading Plan: We will cover the next four books of the Old Testament: Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Job. This plan will be a little easier, a refreshing break from the intensity of the last week as y’all powered through 2 Chronicles. Take this time to read more intently and truly soak in the content of history’s most important work ever produced.
Prayer and meditation: we continue to pray for the world and a return to a new normal where we have transformed to a generation forever changed by this current crisis.
Fitness Challenge: If you have been following this plan for the last four months, you should be seeing a lot of improvement in your fitness level and physique. Moving forward, I am going to be posting an array of different body weight workouts, so no more of doing the same routine three days a week and the same six workouts week-after-week. These workouts will never last longer than thirty minutes. If you are joining us late, whenever you do a workout, just always give it your best, and you’ll continue to see improvement.
Serving/Praise and Worship: Continue to stay committed to serving at least one day a week and attending church regularly. If you’ve found your home church, get involved anyway you can.
7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
Above are the last words Jesus speaks to His beloved Disciples who are now known as the Apostles. This is the mission Jesus has set before them, to be the witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection and power as the Son of God, and to take that message to the ends of the Earth. The Book of Acts is an action-packed, epic account of the birth of the Christian Church. Written by Luke, it reads much like his Gospel: very factual, very specific, very powerful. As you will see when reading this first chapter of Acts, Jesus is gone as soon as He speaks the words above. Left are the Apostles, the original eleven who stood by Jesus’ side for the last three years. The fear and failure they suffered through the crucifixion and resurrection are gone. Jesus spent forty days with them, teaching them, reinvigorating them, re-energizing their spirits, and supercharging their souls. In Acts, we will see a completely different side of the Apostles. Peter is no longer the follower who denies His beloved Savior before strangers. He immediately steps up (Acts 1:15: “In those days Peter stood up among the believers”) as the leader of the Apostles and when you read Acts 2 tomorrow, you’ll hear his first speech to those around him. I like to think of Peter as Star-Lord from this point on. He’s been equipped with supernatural abilities from the Holy Spirit and is about to set out across the ancient world with his Apostles, who can be called the Guardians of the Galaxy. The truth and peace that the Apostles will teach the world could be the keys to ultimate freedom and opportunity for the people of this world. Until Jesus came, the world only knew false gods and the inclusive Jewish faith, who believed only their bloodline was worthy to worship the only true God of creation. Unlike the Marvel film franchise, everything you will read in the Book of Acts is facts and historically documented by a skilled physician near the end of the first century.
While the Gospels were filled with the teachings and speeches of Jesus, Acts chronicles the works of the Apostles and gives all us Christians a perfect example of how to help grow our Church. This is the history of the Church, and from reading this book, and studying it together, I hope you will see exactly what your mission as a Christian is. The teachings directly from Jesus are done, from now on it’s human interpretation. All the truth of the Gospels are in the first four books we just read, from this point on, we see these truths put to work. At the end of this month, I expect the same work ethic out of you.
Reading plan: Acts 1
Deeper reading plan: Ezra 1, 2
Prayer and meditation: Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones. Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet. And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much.
Fitness challenge: Today is the last day of this easy rotation. Starting next week, I’ll be introducing you to a new set of excercises. 25 reps of each exercise 1-7, then repeat for a total of 3 sets. After this week we are going to mix it up during May, break this monotonous routine. Just a reminder, the fitness challenge has been building since January 1, so if you are just joining us recently, do as many reps as you can for each exercise, and do three complete sets.
1. Standard push-up
2. Sit-up or crunches
3. Air squats
4. Hand-release push-up
5. Leg lifts
6. Lunges (7-each leg)
7. 4-count flutter kicks